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12277[XTalk] Lloyd Re: Wright's NTPG, Chaps 1& 2

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  • Andrew Lloyd <a.lloyd2@ntlworld.com>
    Jan 2, 2003
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      Bob,

      granted that you want to carry on with your reading I'll be brief
      and boil our discussion down to its heart which is the question of
      how to get a grip on Wright's narrative approach to realism.

      [Andrew]
      > >Now granted that this is a better description of Wright's position
      > >(and you may want to argue that though you should read p. 98 first
      > >and note his assertion on p. 43 that "stories...are more
      fundamental
      > >than facts"), Wright is inconsistent since he wants to hold that
      > >when I talk about "my narrative world", that which he speaks about
      > >in chapter 2, he can also talk about "the world" in a claim-making
      > >sense. (Here note his chosen diagrammatic aids consist of polar
      > >opposites, something he is rhetorically abandoning.) But I don't
      > >believe that if Wright follows through on his own idea he has any
      > >right to be making anything other than rhetorical claims about
      > >his "narrative world" tout court (which I have no problems with).
      > >Thus, I see Wright as someone who can't stop talking about
      > >some "real world" even though it appears he wants to try to. This
      is
      > >why in my PHD thesis I am talking about Wright as displaying a
      dual
      > >rhetoric, the rhetoric of social and personal involvement allied
      > >with a lingering objective realism. I find this to be evident also
      > >in his chosen terminology: "critical" can be opposed to "realism".
      > >Since I rhetorically oppose Wright to Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza
      > >in my own work he can only look like someone without the chutzpah
      to
      > >follow through on his own, largely coherent, suggestion.

      [Bob]
      > This is a very important point, with which I agree. How are we to
      choose
      > which narrative world to subscribe to? Unless we agree that (1)
      there is a
      > reality that transcends both you and me and everyone else, and (2)
      > Narratives vary in how well they map reality, then we are left
      with a kind
      > of naive subjectivism guided only by "it sounds good to me." If we
      take
      > this road, then how is Christianity different from any other cult?
      Or is
      > Christianity only different from other cults in being more
      successful at
      > deceiving larger numbers of people? (Which I think is where some
      people on
      > this list are at. ) So the dilemma of Wright's critical realism
      is that it
      > is, after all, a form of realism, and therefore it must present
      some way of
      > understanding what is real, and what isn't. This is why I come
      back to the
      > idea is that the subjective/objective difference is NOT irrelevant.

      My answer here is controversial in some circles (I don't necessarily
      think its Wright's for example) but not in the pragmatic ones I'm
      familiar with. You don't choose which narrative to accept or believe
      so much as it chooses you. This is to say that in the narrative
      understanding of reality, as opposed to the perception of reality as
      discrete facts or statements, you become part of a narrative and
      take it up rather than discretely choosing from the pot of
      narratives which one to believe and live out experientially. Thus,
      we are part of a greater whole rather than the master of all we
      (choose to) survey. Hence "mapping" is an entirely inappropriate
      analogy and its not so much "it sounds good to me" as "how could you
      expect me, the person I am, to believe anything but that which I
      do?" This, I will think will agree, is a somewhat different way of
      conceiving of realism.

      Against this background we then start making statements, assessing
      truth claims and adducing facts.

      Andrew Lloyd (PhD Cand.)
      Nottingham, England
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